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City’s drug campaign paying off

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The City of Cape Town have re- launched their “I have a drug problem” campaign in Bonteheuwel on Wednesday. Mayor Patricia De Lille highlighted that while there are many issues that still need to be addressed, the campaign has seen major successes. De Lille said the campaign has allowed communities to work together with police and government in tackling the scourge of drugs.

“Getting more people calling for help is exactly what we wanted. With the 24 hour hotline that is available 365 days a year, we are taking it to the next level to target the supply and demand,” said De Lille.

The  successful arrests of drug dealers is only dependent on the information that comes from the community. De Lille has urged communities to provide the City with the relevant information through their hotline number and also appealed to members of the community not to purchase any stolen items.

“Because buying stolen items is feeding the habit of those who are stealing to feed their habit, so the success is really to make progress possible together,” added De Lille.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security , JP Smith said the third leg of the campaign will continue to focus on the damage that drugs have on the communities.

“The fact that drugs are driving a lot of crime in the communities; people are stealing things and are engaging in house breakings and other crimes to supply their habit, but also drug are the driving force of the gang economy,” said Smith.

He urged communities to come forward with information.

“We already have successes: we are getting about 25 tip offs per week but we are asking the public to tell us more: tell us where the drug dealing is happening, tell us whose doing what, because the more information we have, the more effective we can do the operations,” said Smith.

Smith said that due to the public information, over the period between 2006 until now they have more than doubled the amount of arrests, from 380 a year to 1600- 2500 arrest per year.

Since July 2012, they have had 70 000 units of drugs confiscated with a street value of about 3.23 million.

“We have also conducted 4 799 searchers of properties and made 5 404 drug related arrests, closed 3 drug labs and in last year alone have taken in 57 firearms off the street, which are linked to the drug trade.” VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)

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